By Rajesh Joshi
The mob lynching of fourteen-year-old Junaid Khan on Delhi-Vallabgarh-Mathura train stands out among the many lynchings and murders that have become common news in the last couple of months. It hints at the beginning of an effort aimed at brainwashing the innocent Hindus in North Indian states. The mob mentality has now been successfully moulded according to the present government’s desires. The resultant escalation of mob violence in the last few months speaks for the nefarious design.
It happened for the first time that in a train compartment full of passengers, four innocent youngsters Junaid, Hashim, Shakir and Mueen, were beaten bloody and the onlookers only egged on and encouraged the attackers. The arrested attackers have confessed to this fact themselves.
The usual reaction of general public in such a situation used to be an indifferent attitude, and an urge to get away from the scene so that they are not dragged into the mess. Another first is the reason of the attack, just that the four youngsters, who were three brothers and a friend, looked very Muslim with their new beards and skullcap.
They were neither guilty of consuming beef nor smuggling buffalo meat. They were neither associated with terrorist groups, nor with child kidnappers. They were not thieves or criminals. Their guilt was their appearance, that identified them as Muslims. They were happily returning home after completing Eid shopping from Sadar Bazar, Delhi, the capital of world’s biggest democracy.
According to sources, the attackers were, like the victims, not criminals and had no criminal records. The people who surrounded the boys and beat Junaid to death, were first time offenders. The onlookers, some of them were silent and those who spoke, did so to egg on the attackers. Even these onlookers were no action loving criminals, they were common people of the democracy who voted and were on their mundane way to work.
The murder of Junaid is the first sign of the democracy having changed into an extremist society. It is the sure sign that the political party that had been working to divide the society and pour communal hatred into the unsuspecting common man, has succeeded now. It has succeeded so well that just a normal group of commoners considers it okay to kill boys for the crime of looking like they belong to the ‘other’ community.
It is also the first sign of the fulfillment of an old dream of Damodar Swarkar, Hindutva leader. His war cry was to change the entire India into Hindutva and change all the Hindus into an army. The BJP and its parent organization, the RSS together have changed the political environment of India so much that even a major party like Congress took to using mild forms of Hindutva as its weapon.
Once during the Gujarat assembly elections, Sonia Gandhi called Narendra Modi “dealer of death”, and Congress never won an election in Gujarat since then. Congress did not dare take up the topic of Gujarat Muslim genocide during the elections ever again.
Two years ago when Akhlaq Ahmad was dragged out of his house and lynched for allegedly possessing beef in Dadri, at the outskirts of Indian capital New Delhi, many Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi went to commiserate with the relatives of deceased Akhlaq Ahmad. Representative of Central government also went to condole but he labeled the death as an “accident”. Later opposition parties also took the hint and stopped feeling for the lynched people and their relatives. And this was how BJP took care of the political parties that would condole with the victims of lynching in the country.
When Pahlu Khan was lynched on Alwar highway, the government mildly ‘disapproved’ of the incident. But the government did not find it necessary to send any representative to Junaid’s home to condole when he was murdered in a packed train. Now the environment has become such that even mainstream and major political parties think twice before expressing their sympathies with the Muslim victims in India.
Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister three years ago, the activities of Hindutva organisations have sharply escalated, though they were active behind scenes for years. An army of Hindus does not mean that every Hindu citizen will be ready to don the soldier’s khaki and be combat ready at the borders, rather the Hindutva idea is that every Hindu will be full of the spirit of being his country’s soldier and be ready to fight any “enemy” of the nation at the drop of a hat. And the Hindutva philosophy teaches all such soldiers that the country has to be protected from the ‘enemies within’. And RSS has plainly spelled out that Muslims are the internal enemies that need to be rid.
Politically, communists are not a threat to RSS, but ideologically they are a big threat. So far Christians are out of the target range of Hindutva extremists. It is because targeting Indian Christians would malign the image of the country internationally. Apparently, there is no such threat if Muslims are targeted, so onward they go in their attacks. These days the Muslims are going through a tough test all across the globe and RSS and Hindutva organisations find it an apt time to target Muslims within the country.
In their own opinion, the attackers of Junaid were getting rid of ‘anti-nationalists’. Hashim, one of the brothers who was attacked along with Junaid, said, “We were told that ‘you are Muslims, you are anti-nationals, you eat beef. One man hit my head and threw down my skull-cap. Another tried to pull my beard, and during all this the onlookers kept encouraging the attackers.”
Modi’s government has given clear messages to every gau rakshak walking the streets about who the enemies of the country are. Having portrayed terrorists and criminals as Muslims, now wearing skull cap has become a crime in the eyes of the common Hindu, and the resulting lynchings are what can be expected.
(The Article has been translated from Urdu Daily Inquilab. ViewsHeadlines does not necessarily subscribes to author’s views)